Billy Jack Adams, wonderful and beloved son, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, blessed us all with his life and leadership from 15 December 1934 until 05 September 2021. Born in Colorado, he moved with his family to San Diego in 1938. He attended San Diego High School and was captain of the baseball team that won the CIF championship in 1952. He married his wife, Irene Dorothy, in 1955 and had two children: Steve (1960), and Laura (1962).
Bill began his 33-year career with Coca-Cola Bottling Company in 1955 as a truck loader and route salesman. Hard work and a natural business acumen allowed him to learn “from the ground up.” After additional positions, he became Sales Manager in 1967, Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 1975, and President of Coca-Cola San Diego in 1982. From 1984 to 1988, he served as President and CEO of Coca-Cola Los Angeles, overseeing the consolidation of the Los Angeles company, San Diego company, and operations in Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii. After retiring from Coca-Cola in 1988, he turned his passion into pleasure and pursued a career in baseball. He was with the San Diego Padres from 1988 to 2000, becoming Executive Vice President in 1991. He finished his career at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park from 2000 to 2002, when he was asked by Bob Breitbard to serve as Executive Director (this was the same man who recruited Bill to coach his first Little League baseball team in 1955).
Among his many activities, Bill served as President of the San Diego Grocers Association, as well as on the Business Advisory Board of San Diego State University, the Board of Governors of the Coca-Cola Bottlers Association, the President’s Advisory Council of Dr. Pepper, the Bottlers Marketing Advisory Council to Coca-Cola USA, the Coca-Cola Bottlers Contractual Affairs Committee, and the California/Nevada Bottlers Board of Directors. Bill served as President of the Boys and Girls Club of East County and was on the COMBO Board of Directors. He was the San Diego Grocers Association “Man of the Year” in 1975.
Always full of joy and optimism, Bill’s enthusiasm filled any room (or ballpark) he was in. He elevated the spirit of others, whether as a baseball coach for many years or as a business leader and mentor for many more, always challenging and encouraging others to achieve their potential. He gave any group he was involved with a sense of direction and purpose. Bill was a true team leader who proved, time and again, his ability to inspire with integrity and loyalty. He took ownership and responsibility, with accountability, of whatever team he was on, body and soul.
He was a proud veteran of the US Marine Corps, to which he always credited many life lessons, including the importance of “team,” and always working towards something bigger than oneself.
Bill was predeceased by Irene, his wife of 54 years, in 2010. He is survived by his only sibling Chuck and his wife Cindy, son Steve and his wife of 38 years Janet, and daughter Laura and her husband of 36 years Vin. He was also the proud and loving grandfather to five granddaughters whom he passionately supported in all their academic and athletic endeavors: Sarah (1986), Ashley (1988), Kayla (1989), Kelsey (1992), and Jessica (1994). He also has five great-grandchildren: Bruce (2015); Olivia (2015); Madeleine (2017); Adam (2019); and Amani (2020).
A memorial service with military honors, in recognition of Bill’s life and contributions to his family, friends, and community will be held on Sunday, 12 September 2021, at 10:00 o’clock a.m. at El Camino Memorial Park, 5600 Carroll Canyon Road, San Diego. A private family burial will follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Bill’s honor to The Alzheimer’s Association at https://act.alz.org/donate. Please indicate “Tribute Gift.”